Do you Keep a fire extinguisher near your appliances? If one of your appliances suddenly caught fire could you try to put it out, or would you be helpless? This article has been inspired after hearing all the news coming out of the Grenfell fire inquiry.
They’ve been discussing all the contributing factors to the horrific event and are desperate to learn as many lessons as possible. There is no proof that it was started by a fridge. However, it remains the main suspect after the flat owner reported smoke coming from the back of the fridge during the 999 call. Thousands of house fires are started each year by white goods appliances (Risks involved in leaving a washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher running when out or in bed).
No mention of fire extinguishers?
One thing that struck me is that I haven’t noticed a single mention of whether there was a home fire extinguisher available or not in the flat where the fire started. This is despite all the dozens of hours of media and press I’ve seen and read. I have no idea if there was or not. My guess is that most people don’t have fire extinguishers in their homes.
We’ve had campaigns for years promoting the installation of smoke alarms. It’s now accepted by just about everybody that every home should have smoke alarms installed. Fortunately millions of homes do now have them. I’m not aware of any similar campaigns to promote home fire extinguishers. Wouldn’t it be desirable for every flat to have appropriate home fire extinguishers? Or more ideally every house in the country?
Personally I have a small fire extinguisher in my kitchen, and one in my garage where we have several white goods appliances. I’m not trying to suggest they can stop every fire, but how many serious fires could be averted if someone is able to use a fire extinguisher on it?
Being alerted to a fire is vital but having something to fight it with is needed too
During my time creating safety advice and warnings for Whitegoodshelp I’ve heard of many cases of people being alerted to a household appliance fire but being helpless to do much about it. At least they can evacuate the house and call the Fire Brigade. But by the time they get to the fire – how much damage has been done? I’ve heard of several cases where people have even tried to get burning appliances outside of the back door. It is clearly much better to have a small home fire extinguisher designed to tackle electrical fires. They don’t cost much, and last for many years.
I suppose there’s always a possibility that someone could try to tackle a fire inappropriately. It’s possible this might be why there hasn’t been multiple campaigns to encourage people to have them. But fire extinguishers are available in all public places so they must be considered necessary.
Which type of fire extinguisher is best?
If looking to buy a home fire extinguisher try adding the phrase, “for electrical fires” to your search. Any on sale should describe what type of fire an extinguisher is suitable for. This page gives all the information you need Fire Extinguisher Classes and Suitability